Smoking and liver disease

Stephanie M. Rutledge, Amon Asgharpour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, causing approximately 480,000 deaths per year, which is equivalent to 1 in 5 deaths being attributable to tobacco use. The adverse effects of cigarette smoking on the lungs and cardiovascular system are well described; however, the detrimental effects of smoking on the liver are not as well defined. Smoking affects the liver via 3 separate mechanisms: Toxic (both direct and indirect), immunologic, and oncogenic. There is an emerging body of evidence of an association between cigarette smoking and progression of fibrosis in chronic liver diseases such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and primary biliary cholangitis. Smoking is associated with accelerated development of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with chronic hepatitis B or C virus infection. Tobacco smoking adversely affects lung function, which increases physical limitations and may preclude liver transplantation. Following liver transplantation, smoking is associated with several adverse outcomes, including increased risk of de novo malignancy, vascular complications, and nongraft-associated mortality. The respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus disease 2019 serves as a good example of the complex interplay between the lungs and the liver. It is evident that cigarette smoking has important negative effects on a multitude of liver diseases and that patients' smoking cessation must be prioritized. The data are limited, and more research is needed to better understand how smoking affects the liver. This article summarizes what is known about the pathologic effects of cigarette smoking on common liver diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-625
Number of pages9
JournalGastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Cigarettes
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver disease
  • Smoking
  • Toxins


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